SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Timmy Allen scored 20 points to help Utah pull away from UC Davis for a 77-73 victory on Friday night.
Rylan Jones added 18 points and five assists while Riley Battin chipped in 15 points and six rebounds for the Utes. Utah (5-2) won its third home game of the season after dropping two of three contests at the Myrtle Beach Invitational before Thanksgiving.
Joe Mooney scored 19 points and Elijah Pepper added 14 to lead the Aggies. UC Davis (2-7) forced 13 turnovers but ultimately trailed wire-to-wire after a slow start.
“They’re better than their record,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said about UC Davis. “They’ve got a nice combination of some shooters and their freshman point-guard is very good. We had some glimpses of playing together, I thought we started the game really well and finished the game really well. It was a good win for us.”
The Aggies rallied to within 66-62 on free throws from Damion Squire and Ezra Manjon. Allen kept UC Davis from getting any closer. He made a stepback jumper and a pair of free throws to put Utah up 70-62 with 1:40 remaining.
Utah used hot shooting to seize control early in the first half. The Utes shot 68% from the field before halftime – which included going 7-of-12 from 3-point range. It put UC Davis into an early hole that the Aggies could not climb out from as the game progressed.
Battin and Both Gach each made a pair of 3-pointers to highlight a string of six consecutive baskets for the Utes to open the game. Utah ultimately scored on eight of its first nine field goal attempts, culminating in a Battin layup that gave the Utes a 21-9 lead.
UC Davis cut the deficit in half after making three straight baskets. The Aggies closed to within 23-17 on a 3-pointer from Pepper.
Allen answered with back-to-back baskets to push Utah’s lead back to double digits. The Utes led by as many as 15 points before halftime, going up 40-25 on a pair of free throws from Jones.
UC Davis made a big rally in the second half and cut Utah’s lead to 48-43 when Mooney made back-to- back baskets and hit three free throws. Mooney capped a 13-5 run where the Aggies scored baskets on four consecutive possessions.
Utah next hosts BYU Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center at 7:00 p.m.